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Sunday, April 25, 2010

The queue for the police toilets is getting longer by the minute...

Pee See
They literally have nothing to go on.

I'm joking of course. The police have far more important things to do than queue for the toilet. They're on the lookout for racists. And not the institutional ones in their own midst.

Yes, just two days after St George's Day, Brighton - possibly the most liberal, tolerant and Bohemian city in the country - played host to the March for England this morning. And it had nothing to do with the World Cup. It was actually a demonstration by people who are "ENGLISH AND PROUD - PROUD NOT RACIST", and who "WELCOME everyone to March For England, Regardless of Colour, Culture or Religion". So some of their best friends are black. And probably Muslim too.

I was out with Amelie at the time, and had no idea the march was taking place, but I decided to film them. Mainly because Amelie likes horses...

The penned people on the grass are United Against Fascism. I don't think they believed the marchers' claims to be family-friendly and non-racist. Or maybe it was just coincidence that they were there.

Anyway, I can't pretend to know the true motives of those who took part, but I'm not a big fan of nationalism, so I tend to agree with the horse who defecated right in front of them.

But the good news is that you don't have to live on a council estate to stand proudly in front of a flag of St George...

AttersThis is the real reason Amelie and I went out today. Kind of. That's Atters on the left. He hosted the World Beard & Moustache Championships in 2007, which still ranks as one of the best days I've ever spent in Brighton. But today he was taking part in 'The Book & the Rose', a dual celebration marking both St George's Day and Shakespeare's birthday. It took place all day outside the library in Jubilee Square, which is where Amelie and I were heading when we bumped into the xenophobes.

The event was basically a mixture of the good, the bard and the ugly. Jubilee Square was filled with stalls selling books and handing out flowers, and the place was populated by actors, writers and musicians. One of whom was playing the musical saw. Amelie and I felt right at home. And not just because my Dad plays the hosepipe. We particularly liked the on-stage entertainment, the highlight of which was this chap...

Conrad Vingoe
That's Conrad Vingoe, a folk singer who was described in the programme as "melancholic and uplifting". So he's probably bi-polar. Personally I thought he was excellent. In fact I was so impressed, I might withdraw some money from Amelie's trust fund and order his CD. But in the meantime, here's a very badly shot video...

Amelie kept jogging the camera by bouncing up and down in her buggy, and then my batteries ran out. It was a nightmare from start to finish.

But fortunately I had some spare batteries in my pocket, so I was able to film the Hammer & Tongue 'Slam Poetry' slot. Never have such low expectations ended with such enthusiastic applause. Don't let the word 'poetry' put you off, this was actually the most brilliant sixty seconds of verse I've ever seen...

Amelie actually stopped eating her rusk for the duration of that poem. That's how entertaining it was. I need to chuck out her picture books and buy her some sonnets.


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